Georgia Says

Augusta (Ga.) Chronicle on a history of violence:

We expect much from law enforcement officers, as they work gut-wrenching scenes of slayings and auto accidents.

But ask many officers which cases are consistently the toughest to manage and resolve, and they'll tell you in two words: domestic violence.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and South Carolina owns an ignominious No. 1 ranking - the state leads the nation in the rate of men who kill women.

The state of Georgia isn't exactly covered in glory, either - it barely missed cracking the top 10 this year, placing 12th.

In Aiken County, during one particularly deadly stretch in July 2011, five women were killed in domestic violence incidents - in the presence of four children.

But few local incidents put the issue of deadly domestic violence in more stark relief than the tragic case last year of Cayce Vice.

Ms. Vice - and the baby she was pregnant with - died in a shooting either late Jan. 27 or early Jan. 28, 2012, in the Augusta apartment she shared with her boyfriend, Joshua Jones.

Second Judicial Circuit Solicitor J. Strom Thurmond Jr. told The Augusta Chronicle in August that his office still is awaiting results from a forensics investigation in the case by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division. So, nearly two years after the shootings, Jones still is being held at the Aiken County Detention Center.

If Jones is found guilty, he's looking at a potential death sentence. But on the other end of the domestic violence spectrum - the nonlethal cases - sentencing seems far too light.

Purple Light Nights starts tonight at 7 p.m., on the Quadrangle Lawn of Georgia Regents University Augusta's Summerville campus. The school is partnering with SafeHomes of Augusta for this event. Organizers ask that you bring old cellphones, gift cards and new household and children's items to help abuse victims on a path back to normal lives.

The Telegraph, Macon, Ga., on GDOT:

Amazing. Maybe the Georgia Department of Transportation has found its soul after decades of ramrodding projects down various communities' throats.

After years of debate about plans for the Interstate 75/Interstate 16 interchange, a new report, by Connect Central Georgia, now says the interchange should not be a top GDOT priority.

The report -- with no documentation describing its methodology -- said the interchange's cost, $164.5 million, outweighed its benefits by a huge margin. Even that estimated cost is lower than the $300 million projected earlier.

What changed? According to GDOT, about 9,000 cargo trucks still travel I-16 through Macon daily. Plans are still moving forward to deepen the Port of Savannah to prepare it for larger cargo tankers that will push through a wider and deeper Panama Canal. That, according to prior GDOT speculation, would increase cargo traffic through Macon.

This is not the first time the I-16/I-75 interchange has been put on the back burner. In 2008, former GDOT Commissioner Gena Evans pushed the project back to 2018. Did the coalition of 53 civic groups, art foundations, museums, advocacy groups, publications and neighborhood groups turn the tide? No, the biggest reason behind GDOT's change of heart is money.

The I-16/I-75 interchange was on the list of projects to be funded by the transportation special local option sales tax that was defeated in the summer of 2012

Hopefully this community and others will see a kinder, gentler GDOT moving forward.

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